Born in the small Georgian industrial town of Zestafoni in 1956 to a Georgian father and Russian-teacher mother, Akunin is an essayist, literary translator and a celebrated writer of detective fiction. After developing an interest in Japanese Kabuki theater, he joined the historical-philological branch of the Institute of Asian and African Countries of Moscow State University as an expert on Japan.
Pavel Basinsky was born in 1961 in Frolovo, near Volgograd. He studied at Saratov University and at the Maxim Gorky Literary Institute in Moscow. A prolific journalist and author, Basinsky has excelled at a number of genres, from scholarly monographs to experimental novels. Basinsky holds a PhD in Comparative Literature, has sat on the jury of several major Russian literary prizes, such as the Russian Booker, the Alexander Solzhenitsyn Prize and the Yasnaya Polyana Prize, and is the Cultural Editor of Rossiiskaia Gazeta.
Andrei Bitov is one of the most important Russian writers of the last fifty years, justly famous for his groundbreaking post-modern novel Pushkin House. Born in Leningrad in 1937, Bitov spent the war in evacuation in the Urals and Uzbekistan. After returning to his native city in 1944, Bitov became a geologist, travelling all over the Soviet Union. He started writing short stories in 1959, but did not become a full-time writer until he moved to Moscow in 1963.
Marina Boroditskaya is a Russian poet and translator. She graduated in 1976 from the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Languages, and is well known for translating English, American and French classical poetry. She has published numerous books of children’s poetry in Russia, and translated many English-language children’s writers, including A. A. Milne, Eleanor Farjeon and Hilaire Belloc.
Dmitry Bykov is one of Russia’s most prominent and admired writers and public intellectuals. His often controversial and always engaging opinions can be found in newspapers, magazines, television and radio programmes and, of course, his own polemical novels. Regardless of his ubiquity and capacity for provocation, Bykov is recognised as a superb critic, essayist, novelist and poet, capable of expressing cultural insight with verve and humour.
Elena Chizhova, a former economist, teacher and entrepreneur, finally turned to writing in 1996 after being rescued from a burning cruise ship. Since that time she has been consumed by the need to write, and has enjoyed considerable success as a result. Chizhova’s prose shuns trickery in favour of emotional honesty in order to probe the weeping sores of Russian history that contemporary culture would sooner forget.
Lev Danilkin is the leading literary critic of his generation, credited with making criticism accessible and even glamorous, and is acknowledged, and feared, as the man who can make or break a book. His reviews in the popular cultural digest Afisha are noted for the breadth of their scope and the verve of their writing and are required reading for literate young Russians.
Polina Dashkova is Russia’s most successful crime author, with a total of 40 million copies of her books sold so far; in Germany alone, where she is known as the 'Queen of Russian Crime Fiction', she has sold more than 300,000 copies. A graduate of Moscow’s Maxim Gorky Literary Institute, Dashkova has been an active radio and print journalist, and has worked as an interpreter and literary translator from English. She currently lives with her husband and daughter in Moscow.
One of the most fascinating authors to emerge in the turbulence of the 1990s, Maria Galina was born in Kalinin (now Tver) in 1958. She was brought up in Ukraine, studied marine biology at Odessa University. In the course of her studies, Galina became an expert in hydrobiology and worked on several expeditions examining environmental issues. Galina has lived in Moscow since 1987.
Born in 1975, Alexander Garros studied literature in the University of Latvia and journalism in Moscow State University. He has worked as the editor of the cultural section in Novaya Gazeta and Ekspert. He currently lives in Moscow and works as the special reporter for the media project Snob.
Mikhail Elizarov was born in 1973 in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. He graduated from Kharkov State University, with a degree in philology. Simultaneously with his studies, he studied vocal at Higher Musical School. Until 1999 he was a student at the Kharkov Arts Academy, studying film directing. He continued his film studies in Berlin, Germany.
Mikhail Gigolashvili studied Russian Philology at Tbilisi University, and later in Leningrad, Russia, before obtaining his doctorate in 1984. In 1991 he published a study titled Dostoevsky Storytellers and a number of articles relating to foreign influences in Russian literature. In 1991 he moved to Saarbriicken, Germany, where he teaches Russian at the University of the Saarland.
Linor Goralik was born in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine in 1975 and emigrated to Israel before moving to Moscow in 2001. She has published a number of prose books including two novels written in collaboration: No was co-authored with Sergey Kuznetsov; and Half of the Sky, with Stanislav Lvovsky. Both were published in 2004. She has produced several poetry collections, with many pieces appearing in journals such as Novy Mir and Vozduh, as well as publishing two children’s stories.
Alexander Ilichevsky was born in Sumgait, Azerbaijan in 1970 and graduated in theoretical physics from a technological institute affiliated to Moscow University. He is the author of many literary works in various genres, both poetry and prose, all of which have been published in Russia’s most prestigious literary journals, such as Novy mir (New World), Oktiabr (October) – and all to great literary acclaim.
Dmitry Glukhovsky is a journalist and writer. He is a former anchor for the Mayak radio station and ‘Kremlin pool’ correspondent, having also worked at EuroNews and Deutsche Welle. He has written for Russian Pioneer, L’Officiel and Playboy amongst other publications. Glukhovsky studied Journalism and Foreign Relations in Israel, lived in France and Germany, and has crossed half the globe visiting places like Chernobyl, the North Pole and the Baikonur launch pad as a roving reporter for Russia Today.
Sergei Ivanov is not only one of Russia’s most distinguished historians of Byzantium, but also a leading popular historian and columnist. Since receiving his PhD from Moscow State University in 1984, he has produced over 170 scholarly publications, including Holy Fools in Byzantium and Beyond, which was published in English translation by the Oxford University Press in 2006, and Byzantine Missions, which is currently being translated into English and Czech.
Sergei Kostin is a spy novelist, expert in the history of espionage, and documentary film maker. Graduating from the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Languages, Kostin refused an offer to collaborate with Soviet intelligence, preferring to work as a translator in Algeria. He returned to the theme of espionage during the Nineties, after being graduated from Cinema College (VGIK) as scriptwriter and while working for Russian and French TV Channels.
Dmitry Kosyrev is one of Russia’s leading thriller writers. Kosyrev, who writes under the distinctive alias Master Chen, a legacy of his long-standing interest in the Far East, was born in 1955 and studied Chinese history at Moscow State University and the Nanyang University of Singapore.Since the late 1970s he has been actively involved in the national media, writing on international politics for leading newspapers such as Pravda, Rossiiskaia gazeta and Nezavisimaia gazeta; he is a Member of the Board of the Foreign Policy Association.
Dmitry Kuzmin, born in 1968, graduated from Moscow State University for Pedagogics and taught literature, working as an assistant professor of foreign literature and literary translation. In 1989 Kuzmin founded the Vavilon Union of Young Poets, the organisational hub for Moscow’s experimental poetry scene. In 1996 he started the Vavilon Internet project, an online anthology of current Russian writing. Since 1993 he has been the head of ARGO-RISK Publishers producing about 20 new poetry titles annually.
Sergei Lukyanenko is one of the foremost Russian writers and one of the few to be acclaimed outside of Russia. After originally studying as a psychiatrist, Lukyanenko chose instead to become a prolific science-fiction writer. He is best known, particularly abroad, for his incredibly popular series of Watches, starting with Night Watch (1998) and ending with Final Watch (2006). The series chronicles the supernatural conflict between two organisations, the Night Watch and Day Watch, who strive to uphold the truce between good and evil.
Makanin’s route to his current position as one of the acknowledged masters of contemporary Russian prose is not only a representative tale of the history of Russian literature in the twentieth century, but also a testament to the depth of his talent. Born in 1937 in Orsk, a town straddling the boundary between Europe and Asia, the young Makanin was a chess fanatic. This passion led him to study maths in Moscow, where for many years he worked as a teacher and where he still lives.
Leonid Parfenov is one of the most renowned and respected journalists in modern Russia, not just a presenter, but the author of a range of projects that have defined an era in Russian TV. Born in Cherepovets in 1960, Parfenov studied journalism at Leningrad State University. After working briefly in local television, he became a special correspondent for the national news.
Oleg Pavlov is a prominent Russian writer and former winner of the Russian Booker Prize. Born in Moscow in 1970, Pavlov spent his military service working as prison guard near the city of Karaganda in Kazakhstan. Many of the incidents portrayed in his stories were inspired by his experiences there: he recalls how, while reading Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago he saw the very camp he had worked at, Karabas, mentioned and felt inspired to continue Solzhenitsyn’s work.
Zakhar Prilepin was born near Ryazan in 1975. Prilepin had a varied life before dedicating himself to writing, spending time as a student, as a labourer, as a journalist and as a soldier, serving with the Special Forces in Chechnya. More recently Prilepin has come to the public attention not only as one of the best writers of his generation, but as a committed, and often controversial, political activist on behalf of the ‘Other Russia’ coalition. Prilepin lives in Nizhny Novgorod where he is the regional editor of independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
Andrey Rodionov is one of the most remarkable figures in contemporary Russian poetry, art, music and theatre. His career began in 2000 in Moscow as a performer on poetry slams, and in 2002 he was awarded the Russian Slam prize. He continues to be a leading figure in the development of the Russian slam poetry movement: in December 2010, as a curator of the SlovoNova poetry festival, he organised the first national Russian slam final in Perm.
Dina Rubina is one of the most widely-read Russian authors alive today. She was born in 1953, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where she later studied music at the Tashkent Conservatory. At sixteen her first short story appeared in the journal Iunost’, which continued to publish her work until the end of the Soviet Union. Life in the colourful environment of Tashkent was not always easy: Rubina had to turn to writing for stage and screen and finally moved to Moscow in the mid-1980s.
Born in 1947 in Moscow, Lev Rubinstein worked as a librarian while he took part in the Russian literary underground, a job that at least partly inspired his use of the index card as poetic medium. Rubinstein's central importance to the Russian avant-garde, and his artistic affinities with international experimental poetry, make him an essential figure in both Russian and world poetry; that he has been translated into German, French, Swedish, Polish, and English indicates the already-existing regard for his achievements.
German Sadulaev was born in 1973, in the town of Shali, in the Chechen-Ingush ASSR, to a Chechen father and Terek Cossack mother. In 1989, aged sixteen, he left Chechnya to study law at Leningrad State University. Today he lives and works as a lawyer in St Petersburg. German Sadulaev’s first book, Radio FUCK, told the urban tales of thirty-somethings in St Petersburg. It made no mention of Chechnya.
The author of widely acclaimed novels, Shishkin is admired as a refined stylist whose fiction engages Russian and European literary traditions and forges an equally expansive vision for the future of literature. Born January 18, 1961 in Moscow, Shishkin worked as a school teacher and journalist. His writing debut in 1993, the short story Calligraphy Lesson, was named Best Debut of the Year by the literary journal Znamya.
Olga Slavnikova graduated from the Faculty of Journalism at Ekaterinburg State University in 1981 and began publishing fiction in the late 1980s during which time she was also fiction editor, then managing editor, of the literary magazine Ural. Slavnikova has lived and worked in Moscow since 2001.
Anna Starobinets is one of a handful of Russian authors who writes in the genre of 'intellectual fantasy'. She was born in Moscow in 1978 and graduated in philology at Moscow State University. As a student she worked part time in several different fields, from simultaneous translation and private tutoring, to billposting and waitressing. After her finishing her degree she started work in journalism.
A historian of medieval Russia by training, Vladimir Sharov , born 1952, began writing fiction in the late 1970s, echoing his father's own move from genetics to writing in the 1960s. Nevertheless, it was not until the 1990s that Sharov's highly unusual historical-philosophical novels came to the attention of the public. When they did, they caused genuine acrimony and controversy among the editors of influential literary journals, especially Novyi Mir.
Maria Stepanova is a graduate of the Literature Institute. She has worked in various media, and since 2007 has been the chief editor of the literary internet portal Openspace.ru. Stepanova is the author of several poetry collections, winning many major national and international awards, like the German Hubert Burda prize in 2006. Her works also have appeared in many of Russia’s literary magazines including Zerkalo, Kriticheskaya Massa and Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie (NLO)
Terekhov’s 'fine satire' as it was noted by The Guardian was compared by The Moscow Times to that of Saltykov-Shchedrin and the individuality of his language to that of Platonov. His writing, they suggest, ‘is packed with forceful imagery and the slang of modern Russia... [and] a distinctive and individual intonation’.
Ludmila Ulitskaya was born in 1943 in the Urals and graduated from Moscow University with a Degree of Master in Biology. She worked in the Institute of Genetics as a scientist. Shortly before Perestroika she became Repertory Director of the Hebrew Theatre of Moscow and began writing scripts. Ulitskaya can be defined as one of the most far-reaching contemporary Russian writers with over two million books sold worldwide.
Andrey Usachev was born in 1958 in Moscow. He attended the Moscow Institute of Electronics but left to study humanities at Tver State University. His first published work appeared in 1985, and from 1988 he has been a full-time author, mainly of work for children. Usachev has been extremely prolific, having had 150 books published in Russia.
Tatiana Ustinova was born in Moscow, a scion of a dynasty of aviation engineers. Having trained in the family trade, she then decided to work as an editor for the National State Television company of Russia. In 1993 she was invited to join President Yeltsin’s press office, also working at the press office of the Chamber of Commerce. Currently Ustinova is the presenter of three television shows and hosts two radio programmes.
Mikhail Weller was born in 1948. He graduated with a degree in philology from Leningrad University in 1972. After university he worked in many different areas, including working as a logger in the taiga, a hunter, a shepherd, a teacher and a journalist. In recent years he has delivered lectures on modern Russian literature at the universities of Milan, Jerusalem and Copenhagen.
Previously unknown to readers of fiction, Vodolazkin was catapulted to prominence by his debut novel Solovyov and Larionov, which was not only very popular with readers, but was also rewarded with a place on the shortlist for both the Andrei Bely Prize (2009) and the Big Book Award (2010).
Born in 1947 in Moscow, Leonid Yuzefovich spent his youth in the Urals, graduating from the History Faculty of Perm University. He then became an officer in the Soviet Army, serving in Buryatia and Mongolia. Since 1984 he has lived in Moscow. With a PhD in history, Yuzefovich worked for many years as a school history teacher and did not start writing in earnest until late in life.